6 Natural Solutions to Restore Hormonal Health, Metabolism, Mood and Your Relationship

hormone health

How’s your feeling today? Are you constipated or bloated after eating? Have you noticed that your once happy mood is gone, that you’ve got a good list of food intolerance and sensitivities, your menstrual cycle is whacked, your sleep pattern is messed up, you keep getting up to pee in the middle of the night and your overall energy is right at the lowest point? All of these symptoms you are experiencing seem to be pointing in one direction – your hormonal state.

Are you struggling with hormone problems? With more than 200 hormones performing various tasks in the body, our hormonal system is probably the most delicate and complex when it comes to maintaining balance and health.

Chronic hormone imbalance can make life difficult and miserable. Hormonal imbalance can be a factor in common problems such as miscarriage, breast cancer, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopausal problems, infertility, fibroids, menstrual difficulties, mood disorders, ovarian cysts and endometriosis. Working to balance your hormones can make a huge difference in your metabolism, weight, mood, sleep, fertility and even relationship issues.

hormonal health

The Endocrine System

What are Hormones?

I am pretty sure you have already read many articles about hormones or maybe heard from many of your friends, all trying to give advice on what to do. Hormones are part of your endocrine system (see the image on the right) and the endocrine glands manufacture them.

  • Adrenals (found on top of the kidneys) – produces hydrocortisone, or simply known as cortisol
  • Ovaries (testes in men) – source of sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
  • Pancreas – produces insulin and digestive enzymes
  • Pineal – control the effect of lights in the body
  • Thyroid – source of thyroid hormone
  • Pituitary – produces various primary hormone activators
  • Hypothalamus – the CEO of the endocrine system

Think of your hormones as little messengers that leads your body navigate through different stages of life. Hormones harmonise the various biochemical activities happening in all of our body and brain cells, orchestrating metabolic processes by stimulating each body cell. Because hormone levels experience several ebbs and flows throughout your lifetime, you may feel changes in your body composition, your moods, your energy and your general sensitivity.

Maintaining hormone health is a continual challenge for the modern women.

Maintaining hormone health is a continual challenge for the modern women.

Why is Healthy Hormonal Health Important?

Women, by nature, are created to be resilient and strong. Such attributes are vital in order to bear and nurture children. The female human body has been created to be in harmony and balanced. A strong, energetic body and vibrant health must be enjoyed throughout all stages of life.

Hormone fluctuations can take a toll even on a strong body, making it unpredictable and weak. Hormones are very potent concentration that when they are in balance, they perform awesomely! However, when you are constantly stressed, overworked and don’t eat the right foods, that perfect harmony can be disturbed, that even an expert endocrinologist may have a hard time figuring out.

Hormonal imbalances shouldn’t be viewed as something inevitable that should just be accepted. Though they happen at different stages of life, they should not be taken as ‘normal’, part of being a woman, or part of the aging process.

If hormonal imbalance is left untreated, it can result to some serious medical conditions such as diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease etc. In fact, there are about 6000 endocrine disorders that result due to hormonal imbalance.

hormonal health

According to Public Health Association of Australia, about 12% of women between late adolescence and menopause are diagnosed to have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Australia – that’s about one and half million of teenagers and women! Untreated PCOS can lead to more serious conditions such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cardiac disease and an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.

How Can You Obtain Healthy Hormonal Health?

Good health can be obtained only if we make the right choices. When the body’s needs are not completely met, from the amount of physical exercise we do, the food we eat and the way we manage stress, it may affect our health, particularly our hormonal health. Exercise, nutrition and stress reduction are some of the primary changes that you need to make in order to achieve hormonal health and balance.

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Now, there are six points to consider in order to achieve optimal hormonal health:

    1. Support the adrenal glands – a vital organ for your sex hormone sytem
    2. Keep your lymphatic system moving
    3. Support the thyroid to keep the fire going
    4. Clean the gut and liver for optimal detox function
    5. Strengthen your body framework and structure
    6. Keep the communication between the cells and the brain

So, what should I do?

There are six key hormones in our body – oestrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone, melatonin, insulin and cortisol, and all these primary hormones play a vital role in keeping your internal state in equilibrium. If you are struggling with hormone balance, there are some basic things you can do to support your body’s ability to produce and maintain balanced hormonal health.

Oestrogen

Produced by the ovaries, oestrogen is responsible for the development of the female sexual characteristics: the breasts, regulation of menstruation, endometrium etc. In males, oestrogen supports sperm maturation and healthy libido.

Estrogen is mainly produced in the ovaries

Estrogen is mainly produced in the ovaries

What Could Go Wrong?

The most common oestrogen imbalance is oestrogen dominance. This is due to an imbalance between progesterone and oestrogen, and is the main cause of many symptoms of metabolic dysfunction such as breast tenderness, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular menstrual periods and mood swings.

Hormonal Health Tips

  1. Eat quality protein – a healthy liver is needed for detoxing oestrogen. Protein deficiency or poor protein digestion can affect liver function, which in turn aggravates oestrogen dominance.
  2. Take a brisk walk every day in natural light – doing this for at least 20 minutes will help your pituitary gland produce higher levels of ovary-stimulating hormones. However, don’t aim to be too thin because a healthy amount of padding supports oestrogen production.
  3. Stay away from aluminium – it is a metalloestrogen, which means it tends to mimic the activity of human oestrogen. Aluminium is capable of activating oestrogen receptors and binding to them. Use aluminium-free deodorant and avoid aluminium cookware.

Testosterone

Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone. Produced by the testes, it is responsible for building muscle mass, fuelling a healthy libido and helping maintain energy levels. Women produce testosterone in little amounts in the adrenal glands and ovaries to fuel sexual desire.

What Could Go Wrong?

Testosterone deficiency can affect both men and women. Even though women only need a little testosterone compared to men, it is still significant for both sexes. Some of the possible symptoms of testosterone deficiency in women include vaginal dryness, leaky bladder, weight gain, decreased libido and loss of muscle tone. For men, the possible symptoms include erectile dysfunction, reduction of body hair, low sperm count and reduced muscle mass.

Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may experience an increase in testosterone levels. Some of the symptoms include hair loss, weight gain, excessive body hair and irregular periods.

Hormonal Health Tips

You can support your body to produce more testosterone by:

hormone health
  1. Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens –a type of toxin that imitate oestrogen and are categorised as endocrine disruptors. Examples include parabens, phthalates, Bisphenol A plastics, pesticides, herbicides etc.
  2. Support your adrenals – as well as the production of DHEA. These are used to build testosterone. Adrenal fatigue can lower testosterone levels.
  3. Zinc – this mineral is very important for male sexual health. The best sources include lamb, nuts, egg yolks, pumpkin seeds and oysters.
ZINC POWERHOUSES

Thyroid Hormone

Produced by the thyroid gland, thyroid hormone is vital for the regulation of the body’s metabolic rate, including digestive and heart function, muscle control, bone maintenance and brain development.

What Could Go Wrong?

Thyroid glands can be underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism). Hypothyroidism is usually manifested by the enlargement of the thyroid gland, better known as goiter. Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone, possibly from an autoimmune disease, drug use or due to poor iodine intake. In adults, hypothyroidism leads to decreased metabolic rate. Common symptoms include low heart rate, reduced appetite, fatigue, depression, poor memory, infertility and muscle stiffness.

Hormonal Health Tips

  1. Stop smoking – this can aggravate your thyroid problem.
  2. Exercise regularly – doing regular moderate exercise can actually increase conversion of T4 to T3, which means, more useful thyroid hormone circulates in your body.
  3. Eat selenium rich foods – selenium is a powerful antioxidant – a key to a healthy immune system. The best sources of selenium include soybeans, garlic, onions, beef and eggs.
  4. Eat iodine rich foods – iodine is important for the production of thyroid hormones. The body cannot produce it, so it is critical to include it in your diet. Good sources of iodine include sea salt, fresh fish and seaweeds.

Melatonin

Secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm and regulate other hormones. Melatonin also helps regulate the timing and release of oestrogen as well the date, frequency and duration of menstruation and menopause.

What Could Go Wrong?

There are several factors that may affect melatonin production, including excess exposure to light during bedtime hours and excess intake of vitamin B12. Symptoms of melatonin deficiency are not hard to recognise. They include insomnia, irregular menstrual cycle, fatigue, early morning awakening and PMS.

Hormonal Health Tips

hormone health

The best way to increase melatonin levels is to get enough sleep. However, this isn’t easy for some people. Here are some tips to help modulate melatonin.

  1. Avoid caffeine, heavy meals and sugar-loaded foods before bedtime – These will only induce production of cortisol (stress hormone) or cause your blood sugar to spike during the night.
  2. Use black curtains or blinds inside your bedroom – Darkness may increase melatonin production.
  3. Daytime exercise – will support a regular circadian rhythm and ensure you have plenty of melatonin at bed time.
  4. Eat foods rich in melatonin such as bananas, red wine, radish, ginger, sweet corn and tomatoes. They are great as light snack or as your evening meal.

Insulin

Secreted by the pancreas, insulin plays an important role in blood glucose regulation. It regulates how the body uses and stores fat and glucose. Certain body cells depend on insulin to bring glucose from the blood for energy production.

hormone health

What Could Go Wrong?

A lack of insulin or the inability to sufficiently respond to insulin can lead to the development of diabetes symptoms. Less severe than diabetes, another form of insulin imbalance is Syndrome X, or insulin resistance. The most common cause of this condition is excessive consumption of nutrient-poor carbohydrates.

Symptoms of high insulin include poor concentration, anxiety, sugar cravings, increased hunger, heart palpitations and fogginess. Signs of chronic insulin resistance include water retention, weight gain, skin tags, irregular menstruation, sleep disruption and vision changes.

Hormonal Health Tips

When you master your insulin and blood sugar, your cravings will subside, you will feel full of energy and you will be able to balance your hormones.

  1. Eat foods that fall below the glycemic index – vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts and certain fruits (e.g. berries) release energy slowly in the blood stream.
  2. Reduce stimulants – nicotine and caffeine cause your blood sugar to shoot up due to a rush in adrenaline.
  3. Be active – exercise can reduce your need for insulin.
  4. Avoid sodas, sweet drinks, refined carbohydrate and sugar –these foods lead to blood sugar spikes.

Cortisol

Produced by the adrenal glands, cortisol is vital for life. It helps maintain immune function, blood pressure and the body’s inflammatory processes. The pituitary gland found in the brain regulates the release of cortisol by the adrenals.

What Could Go Wrong?

It is possible to experience persistent high levels of cortisol enough to cause troublesome symptoms. Signs/ symptoms of sustained high cortisol levels include fatigue and weakness, thyroid imbalance, insulin resistance, immune system suppression and insomnia.

When your adrenals need to constantly respond to stress, they eventually have to work harder to produce more cortisol, as well as other primary hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen. Such demand in the production of hormone becomes critical as a woman goes through her menopausal stage – when the need for full support of the adrenals is needed to avoid extreme hormone fluctuations.

Hormonal Health Tips

The key to cortisol balance is taking the right steps to restore healthy adrenal function.

  1. Reduce refined carbohydrates – sugar, white rice, potatoes and flour – they can cause blood sugar spikes which lead to adrenal imbalance.
  2. Have frequent small meals – to achieve sustained and stable energy levels throughout the day, eat three balanced meals with two snacks.
  3. Manage stress properly – you cannot reduce stress but you can do things to lessen its effects in your life. Identify your life stressors and think of how you will make changes that suit you.
  4. Take a rest – your body needs more rest to heal.
hormone health

More posts about natural hormonal balancing:

We at Beyond Good Health understand how uncomfortable and difficult having hormonal imbalances. Thus, aside from these healthy hormonal health tips, we also recommend you look into our Natural Hormonal Balancing Program that has offered relief to many.

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Dr. Zung Rosita Vu (Dzung Price)
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Dr. Zung Rosita Vu (Dzung Price)

Principal Health Practitioner and Co-Founder at Beyond Good Health Clinics
Dr. Zung Rosita Vu (Dzung Price) educates, trains and treats individuals with challenging chronic health conditions. As a holistic medical practitioner with 23 years in practice, her goal is to empower her students and clients physically, emotionally and spiritually to allow them to get back on track with a healthy and purposeful life.
Dr. Zung Rosita Vu (Dzung Price)
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